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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

New Braemor Study published

The latest title in the series of Braemor Studies, which highlights the best dissertations produced by final year students of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, is now available.  St Patrick’s Pilgrimages – Journey to Place, Journey to God has been written by the Revd Karen Salmon, who is currently curate at Willowfield parish church, in East Belfast, in the Diocese of Down and Dromore, and was recently launched by the Dean of Down, the Very Revd Henry Hull, at Down cathedral, the traditional site of the grave of St Patrick.

The book explores the relationship between people and pilgrimage in Ireland in the 21st century, incorporating reflections and interviews with pilgrims as well as a detailed look at the scholarship and history of pilgrimage in the Christian Church.

The author explained: ‘The geographical diversity of St Patrick’s pilgrimage sites attracted me to include a traditional walk, an island and a mountain in my study. I was interested in the impact these places had on the lives of pilgrims and the revelation of God associated with each place. Pilgrims said the benefits of pilgrimage were physical slowing, stilling, strengthened faith, perseverance, changed perspective and transformation through an encounter with God and others.’

Commending the book, Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, Director of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, said: ‘The practice of pilgrimage is becoming increasingly important across a broad range of Christian traditions as a means of strengthening discipleship.  In this thoughtful study, Karen Salmon deftly explores the particular Irish heritage of St Patrick’s pilgrimages, and offers a rich digest of both theological themes and pastoral insights.’

Dr Bridget Nichols, the supervisor for the dissertation and Lecturer in Anglicanism and Theology at the Theological Institute, added: ‘This original and illuminating study has grown from a splendid seminar paper into an exciting and valuable contribution to understanding the place of St Patrick across the ecumenical spectrum in Ireland, and even beyond faith communities.’

The Braemor Studies series is published by Church of Ireland Publishing with support and assistance from the General Synod’s Literature Committee which included the Church’s Publications Officer, Bryan Whelan.  St Patrick’s Pilgrimages, along with other titles in the series, is available to purchase from the Church’s online bookstore – https://store.ireland.anglican.org - for £5.00/€6.00.

The West Clare parishes of St Columba’s, Ennis, with Christ Church Spanish Point and Kilnasoolagh will be featured in the RTÉ One Sunday Service at 11am. The programme was recorded partly in the RTÉ studios with the numbers restricted to 10 because of social distancing.  The Rector, the Revd Kevin O’Brien, also filmed part of the programme in the parishes featuring local musicians performing in St Columba’s church, making a total of 28 parishioners taking part in Dublin or from their homes or the church.  Mr O’Brien has also included footage of the beautiful West Clare scenery found in his parishes. 

Tomorrow (Sunday) in St Mary’s cathedral, Limerick, the Patronal Festival will be observed.  Whilst the celebrations have been scaled down this year it will see a welcome return of the choir.  In the afternoon at Evensong the guest speaker will be Ms June Butler, All Ireland Mothers’ Union President, who will be in the diocese as part of her “21 in 21” fundraising project.

More than 1,600 churches across Britain and Ireland will hold Climate Sunday services tomorrow (Sunday). The principal service will be broadcast live on–line from Glasgow cathedral from 3.30pm – see this link for booking information.

Church of Ireland Notes

Published in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times

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